Phil Graham on 26 Aug 2000 17:06:01 -0000

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Re: <nettime> Rudeness as a public service


At 01:24 PM 25/08/00 -0400, Alan Sondheim wrote:
>The "Jewish Question" - you don't have to look farther than Marx,
>Dostoevsky, or any number of Quebecois pamphlets around 1980. It's
>in all of these; Hitler just inherited the term.

That is precisely my point. That is why it was sanitary; it was familiar
and thus comfortable in the home. Thus everyone is supposed to know what
the "question"/"issue"/"problem" is. Contemporary policy language is
loaded with such terms as reasons for action. 

Marx's tract was actually public deliberation. He describes quite
precisely which particular "questions" he is talking about. Coming from a
Jewish family, and being so clearly sensitive to language, I expect Marx
knew precisely the rhetorical impact of "the question". 

Of course the inquisitions and pogroms started started long before Marx
wrote, and his use of the terminology shows quite clearly its time-wearied
character, even by the mid-nineteenth century. 

By the time Hitler picked up the hard, familiar, shiny stone and hurled it
back at the population as a "reflection of their desires", everyone who
_counted_ was already supposed to "know" what he meant by doing so. 

>It's still active.
>For a Jew there's no question at all of course, except the tropology
>of its continuous display.

Indeed. That is also my point. And, of course, the true content of the
Draconian "question" or "issue" or "problem" is not limited to
practitioners of a specific religion. It never was. Such terms replace
public meaning with prosodic lullabies. 



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